Unfortunately, few things in your home scream emergency quite like a plumbing problem. When a pipe bursts, spraying water all over your home, the last thing you think about is comparison shopping. Instead, you want help fast and you want it NOW.

That’s also the easiest way to get into trouble, paying exorbitant fees for in some cases sub-par work. Plumbers know this. And if you get a less than scrupulous plumber on the phone during your weekend or holiday emergency, it’s a recipe for disaster.

how to hire a plumber in an emergency How To Hire A Plumber In An Emergency

Of course you know this – that’s why this process is so difficult. With every phone call you make, you see the dollar signs flashing before your eyes. But what else can you do?

Actually, quite a bit.

Instead of heading to the nearest phone book or sending out a search to Google from your iPhone, take a step back first. The most important part of a plumbing emergency is to stop the problem first, and in most cases you can do that easily. Plumbing means water – you have to stop the water flow to begin to control the problem. Find the water supply main shut off valve and turn it off. That cuts the water flow, and buys you time to take the next steps without being in a state of panic.

All major appliances that use water have a shut off valve to control water at the source. If you are sure where the problem originates, you can head straight to the appliance and cut the water supply there. If not, all homes have a main shut off valve that controls the water supply from the municipal to your home. Its typically located near your water meter, either in the basement or crawl space of your home, or outside near the pavement or sidewalk. When you find this valve, you will need a wrench to shut off the water supply.

Once you shut off the water source, its important to check and make sure you have stopped the leak. Keep in mind that depending on what is leaking or broke may have residual water, so its important to monitor it and make sure the water stops. This will buy you some time to find a reputable plumber that can help you fix your problem at a reasonable cost.

If you can wait for normal working hours, this will give you a chance to do a little research and find reputable plumbers in your area. Choose a few and connect with them to ask a few questions. Provide as much detail as you can about the situation, and ask about their availability and their approach to the problem. You can learn quite a bit about a plumber by the way they respond to your needs.

If you are dealing with weekend or holiday hours, and the situation can’t wait until the next normal work day, this also gives you time to do a little research. You can approach finding a plumber in much the same way, yet keep in mind you’ll have to ask about special rates and availability.

Plumbing is a very competitive marketplace, and you’ll find all kinds of information online. Check out a plumbers website – does it look professional? How involved are they in the community – do they have good reviews by local organizations? In today’s world, you can find reviews and feedback in a variety of places. When you’ve narrowed your search down to a few plumbers, spend time getting comfortable with a potential plumber. If you see negative review after negative review, it may be a sign to proceed with caution.

Also make sure you understand the billing process. Every plumber will quote in a different manner. Some with higher hourly rates may charge you only for the time in your home, versus a lower hourly rate may be charging you from his location and back again. If something doesn’t make sense or doesn’t compare, ask. A reputable plumber will help you understand it thoroughly and help you make an educated decision.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

We’re a society of do-it-yourselfers and quick fixes. If something is broke, we want to fix it fast. And if we can head down to the big box store and pick up a quick fix we can do ourselves, all the better.

While its true that some minor clogs can be fixed quickly with home remedies, minor problems are often a sign of a larger problem lurking in the wings. If you have any of these problems in your home, it may be time to call in a professional before the problem escalates.

5 common drain problems that signal it may be time to call in a professional 5 Common Drain Problems That Signal It May Be Time To Call In A Professional

Slow Drain

A slow drain might not seem like a big issue. After all, the water still flows, albeit on a slow basis. Slow drains can indicate a variety of problems, including a pipe that has a buildup of grease or oil blocking the path, improper grading of the drainage system, or even early warning signs of a larger block deeper down. When you attempt to clear a drain yourself, you only touch surface problems – clogs that are close to the surface of your drain. It’s the deeper problems that can cause the largest messes.

Recurring Clogs

You clean it. It backs up. You clean it again. Its still running slow. When you have a “problem” drain that consistently seems like it has a problem, it probably does. Clogged drains can often have multiple problem areas where food, grime, hair, oil, and other debris accumulate over time. You might have removed a surface problem, but it’s the problems down the line that are causing your recurring problems.

Multiple Clogs

Your sink backs up. Your toilet overflows. And finally your shower has standing water a few minutes into it. This is a sure sign of a deeper problem; something the plunger or those off the shelf products won’t touch. The problem lies deep in your pipes, and its effecting the functionality of your home. The only way to reach it is with a deep cleaning process from a professional plumber.

Odor

What’s that funny smell? If you notice a distinct smell coming from your drain, especially when it stands for a period of time, it could be a sign of a larger problem. As pollutants build up, they can quickly break down and deteriorate, causing a distinct odor. It may also be a problem with a broken pipe, or a sewer line that needs fixing or restoring. The only way to get to the root of the problem is to call in a professional and find out where the problem begins.

Flooding

Flooding is the most serious of all plumbing problems. When you reach the point of water coming up out of drains in your basement floor, this could indicate a clog in the sewer line. Even a little bit of water can be a strong indication of a bigger problem, so its important to handle it right away. Sewer water means contamination, and the risk of losing personal property is eminent if not dealt with right away.

By ignoring the warning signs, you are setting yourself up for more serious consequences in the future. The easiest way to prevent future disasters is to call in a professional plumber right away.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

With costs for energy rising all the time, and the word “efficiency” attached to everything we do, its easy to see why people can get sucked into a wide array of beliefs when it comes to improving home efficiency. And while many of the “reported” maintenance items will work, many of them are simply myths and urban legends. How do you know the difference? While it is difficult to wade through the information, we’ve put together some of the most common home energy myths and what you can do instead.top plumbing myths debunked Top Plumbing Myths Debunked

Myth: Energy efficiency increases the initial cost of a home.

If you’ve ever set out to upgrade one appliance in your home – a water heater for instance – when you start comparing prices you’ll find the more energy efficient options move to the middle or upper end of the pricing structure. So its natural to assume that when building a home, adding in all of the top of the line energy efficiency items throughout will increase the price of the home. But its not necessarily true. In some instances, smaller, higher efficiency units may take up less space or work more efficiently from the beginning, meaning the home builder can take this into account with the initial build, and provide you with the savings.

Myth: Showering uses less energy and water than taking a bath

This one is a toss up, depending on your home environment. A typical bath takes anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water. If you take a 10 minute shower with a low flow showerhead (which typically uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute), it would only use 25 gallons of water. If you haven’t replaced your showerhead with a low flow unit, or have multiple showerheads or special water features, these numbers can go up accordingly. Its important to understand how much water you are using, and limit consumption as much as possible.

Myth: A slow dripping faucet isn’t that significant

Even the tiniest of drips can add up quickly over time. A single dripping faucet can add up to 300 gallons of water per month … all flowing down the drain. Which means of course that your water bill is being impacted by every drip a faucet creates. No matter how slow the drip, fix it as soon as possible.

Myth: Its faster to boil hot water, and therefore takes less energy

In order to get hot water into your teakettle or pot, chances are you had to let the water run from the faucet to bring hot water from the water heater to your faucet. That requires energy. So energy you might have saved from trying to boil already warm water (and the savings isn’t significant), you’ll consume by getting the warmed water into your pot.

Myth: Energy savings isn’t a significant feature in the sale of a home

According to the National Association of Home Builders, study after study shows that homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home if it has Energy Star ratings on heaters, air conditioners and appliances, or meets Green Building Guidelines. If you can show your home has efficiency, and it will be made up in savings on energy bills, people will be more attracted to your home.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

The arrival of winter and cold weather has the potential to invite a multitude of potential plumbing problems into the home as well. Frozen or cracked pipes, a frigid step into a morning shower, small leaks that quickly escalate into big problems, even sudden bursts which cause flooding throughout your home all can make a winter morning even more of a headache.

And while its easy to assume that if you didn’t have problems last year, you’ll be okay this year, it simply isn’t true. Things change, items wear out, and certain condition

s change over time. The only way to prepare for the oncoming winter season is to take the necessary precautions now.

how to keep your water flowing even when its cold How To Keep Your Water Flowing Even When Its Cold

Start on the outside

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to unattach your garden hoses and close off all shut off valves that lead to your outside spigots. Drain off any residual water from spigots or hoses, and blow out sprinkler lines to prevent rupture over the winter months.

Prevent clogged drains

When you’re in the house more, you tend to use your drains more. Make cleaning your drains a part of your routine cleaning process. A simple solution of 1 cup salt, 1 cup baking soda, and ¼ cup cream of tarter, followed by several cups of boiling water will keep your drains naturally clean.

Running water

You know that spare bathroom down in the basement you rarely go into? That’s the place most at risk in your home. On a regular basis throughout the winter, make sure you turn on the water supply and allow the water to run for a minute or two. This will keep things flowing and will prevent freezing, especially on those severe cold spells we receive in December or January.

Plan for Holiday cooking

If you are planning for holiday get togethers and an overabundance of family over the holidays, take extra steps along the way to care for your drains. Cooking grease and oils put a strain on drains, pipes and your garbage disposal. Its one of the biggest factors in build ups, and can quickly begin collecting other matter to cause significant problems. Refrain from putting oils down the drain at all times, and avoid hard to grind or stringy substances as well. Always run cold water for at least 15 seconds before and after each use. Be sure to turn on the disposal before you send food down the drain to allow more power behind the process.

Pipe insulation

Even if you’ve never insulated your pipes before, its never too late to start. Use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape to guard both hot and cold water pipes against freezing temperatures. If a pipe is exposed and vulnerable to cold temperatures, insulate it for added protection.

If your pipes freeze, burst or crack this winter, start by turning off the water at the main shut off valve. Turn faucets on to relieve pressure. Then use a blow dryer or space heater to begin thawing pipes. Call in Quality 1st Plumbing to help fix any damage, and get you back on track quickly.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

If you’ve ever lifted the lid on the tank of your toilet, you’ve most likely seen the toilet float. The toilet float is the device that allows the water to fill the tank without overflowing. Also called the ballcock or float valve, they’ve changed in design over the years from a variety of materials.

Older style floats consist of a plastic ball attached to a metal rod. And if you go back further, you’ll find floats made of brass, copper or even glass. If you have an older home with old toilets, you may find a vintage float hand blown from glass; they can be quite valuable to collectors.

the basics of toilet tank floats The Basics Of Toilet Tank Floats

The float is often ball shaped, hence the reason it was originally termed ballcock. The valve is connected to the incoming water supply, with the intake opened and closed by a lever with the float attached to it. When the water level rises, the float rises with it. Once it rises to its pre-set level, the mechanism forces the lever to close the valve and shut off the water flow.

Too much water in your tank will cause it to run and waste water. Too little water in your tank will cause flushing issues, which can lead to possible clogs.

The first sign of trouble usually starts with the sound of running water in your tank. And when you hear it, the first place to start is with the tank float.

The first step is to determine what type of tank float you have.

Older toilets will have a large plastic or brass ball connected to a horizontal rod. The rod is connected to the toilet fill valve. Turn the screw to lower the float and continue until the water stops running. Flush the toilet and see where the water stops as it refills. It should be just below the top of the fill tube for the flush valve. If the water is no longer running, problem solved.

Newer tank floats move up and down along a vertical pipe of the toilet fill valve. A common name is Fluidmaster. This fill valve has an adjustment rod on the side of the assembly; you can pinch the spring clip to adjust the float up or down. Move it down slowly, checking in between to see if the water stops or continues to run. When the water stops running, flush the toilet and see if the tank refills to proper levels. Once its refilled, does the water stop running? If so, problem solved.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

It may start out as a tiny drip, or you may instantly have more water than you know what to do with. However, when you have a water leak in your plumbing, timing is everything to avoid devastating consequences down the road.

Tracing a leak in your home can be tricky. But wiping up the water or fixing only a portion of it is delaying the inevitable. Getting to the source of the matter is the only way to fix the problem once and for all. Yet finding the source is a different matter.

A leaking pipe you can see dripping under your sink is much easier to find and fix than a small wet spot forming on the ceiling of your bedroom. When water begins to seep into places blocked by ceilings or walls, its much more difficult finding the root of the problem.

how to trace a water leak in your plumbing How To Trace A Water Leak In Your Plumbing

Where do you start?

Start by confirming the leak. This can be an easy process with appliances; simply move the appliance and look for water leaks in and around the main water line that connects up with the appliance.

For kitchens and bathrooms, open cabinet doors and shine a flashlight to all corners, looking for corrosion around the pipes, puddles of water, or even small wet spots with beginning stages of mildew or mold. If water is forming behind the walls, below the floor boards, or underneath cabinets, you may notice peeling paint or wallpaper, or buckling materials.

Its also time to walk through your home, looking at the floors, walls and ceilings throughout. Even a small stain on the ceiling could be an indication of a running problem throughout your home. Also look at walls and ceilings located directly underneath other areas of your home with water sources – a bathroom shower or a refrigerator with built in water and ice dispensers can leak water, and have it flow straight down to the next level. Also look for warped flooring, spongy spots in carpet or padding, and moisture in places its never been before.

Head down to the basement and crawlspace of your home and look around as well. Water tends to travel down, so the place you find a water stain or puddle is often not the source of the problem. Still, it can be a starting point. If you see mold, mildew, rotted wood, or puddles of water in the basement or crawlspace, use that to track upward and find where the source begins.

If these doesn’t reveal the source, verify you have a leak. Turn off every faucet, appliance and fixture in your home that uses water, and record the usage on your water meter. Leave all fixtures, appliances and faucets off for eight hours, then read the meter again. If you have any changes, it indicates you have a leak in your plumbing system, and a plumber should be called in immediately to find and fix the problem.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Today’s technology has changed every industry in our society, and plumbing is no exception. Drain cleaning cameras and inspection technology helps us in three distinct ways:

  • Before drain cleaning, it helps us locate and determine the extent of the problem, and define the course of action
  • During drain cleaning, it allows us to determine progress
  • After drain cleaning, it ensures the job was completed and the root of the problem is gone, creating a free-flowing pipe in return

An inspection camera has several key components: a cable reel, a pushrod, and the camera with a light source to illuminate the problem. Cameras typically have self-leveling functions that allow it to always show the water at the bottom in the correct orientation as it sits in the drain line. Additional accessories, such as DVD or CD recorders and sewer inspection software can help capture and report data even more effectively.

what inspection camera technology does for drain cleaning What Inspection Camera Technology Does For Drain Cleaning

One key component of an effective system is equipment to locate a problem under a floor or below ground from a remote, above ground inspection point. This makes it easier and safer to locate potential problems without having to guess where the source really is. This can eliminate unnecessary digging, evacuating the wrong areas, or allowing a leak to continue for longer than it should, costing even more in repair costs down the road.

In the world of plumbing, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, and it holds true when it comes to camera technology as well. Reels and camera sizes come in different sizes to be able to effectively get into different sized drain lines.

For example, a toilet or sink line can best be seen using a micro version designed for drain lines from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The smaller cameras can navigate through smaller lines and toilet traps, and are also easier to adjust with smaller turning radius.

Lighter duty camera units typically weigh 7 to 11 pounds, while industrial technology often weighs in at 24 to 48 pounds and above. Most units today use LED lighting with 18 volt lithium-ion batteries that provide up to 5 hours of continuous inspection. Monitors come both in black and while or in color to make it possible to see and save information for future comparisons.

Statistics show that as many as one in four service calls require a second trip because the original problem wasn’t found and corrected the first time out. Which means more time and energy spent finding the problem and correcting the mess for you.

Traditional methods often don’t get to the root of the problem. With today’s technology, its easier than ever to find the source of the problem the first time, and eliminate it altogether.

If you have a clogged drain, give us a call today.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Your home contains a series of networks and systems that provide you with all of the modern conveniences we know and expect today. While the plumbing system is a series of pipes that run from top to bottom of your home, the water heater is the heart of it all controlling where water goes and at what temperature. Its also the most expensive. Keeping it in good, working condition will guarantee that you have an efficient home with water when and where you choose at any time of the day.

And while it will generally work without a second thought, there are some problems that will normally occur, some easier to fix than others. The key is speed; the quicker you fix things, the less likely a large problem will occur. And with water, that’s a fairly important guarantee to have.

does my water heater need professional repair Does My Water Heater Need Professional Repair?

The first problem area to watch out for is temperature. Have you ever thought to yourself, the shower seems to need longer to heat up than normal. If you notice it, its probably a sign something is changing with your hot water supply.

  • It could be a temperature gauge that is wearing out.
  • It could be sediment building up in your tank, making your water heater not as effective as it once was.
  • It could be higher usage – have you had guests?
  • It could be a clog in your plumbing lines.

Another problem could be age. If you live in an older home and have an older water heater, the parts won’t be as effective as they would be on a new water heater. If you hear noises, have trouble producing hot water on an regular basis, or find a change in your water supply, it may be worth having a plumber in to evaluate and make recommendations. A typical water heater is designed to last 10 to 15 years, anything older could be signs of near-future problems.

Finally, its also important to watch for leaks. Those small drips and shallow pools that form around your water heater could be a sign up a leaky pipe, a leaky connection, or a tank that is about to break. If you don’t fix leaks within your water heater immediately, you risk flooding and water damage to your home.

Have further questions about your water heater? Don’t wait for a problem; have one of our plumbers evaluate your water heater and give you assurance you need you’ll have hot water without the risk for the coming year.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Have you ever opened up your washing machine at the end of its cycle, only to discover that the cycle is over, but the washing machine is anything but drained? Inside you find your clothes sitting in a pool of water, sopping wet from top to bottom. There is no throwing sopping wet clothes into the dryer and expecting them to dry anytime soon.

Typically there are four reasons why a washing machine won’t drain.

when your washing machine wont drain When Your Washing Machine Won’t Drain

1. Drive Belt

 

The first place to start is with your drive belt. If the belt is broken or isn’t tight on the pulleys, it will prevent the washer from draining properly. It may be as simple as replacing the drive belt to make your washing machine work again.

2. Blockage

It happens all the time. Someone leaves a small object in a pocket, only to have it bounce out and end up in the drain. If the drain is blocked, it will back up into the tub of your washing machine. While a larger object can cause instant blockage, other things can cause blockage over time. Dog hair, fluff, feathers – anything that’s easily transferable from the washer into the drain, yet has a solid consistency that can build up and block can be a problem. These blockages are not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, and instead will have to be cleaned and repaired by a plumber.

3. Pump Problems

When you have a washing machine that doesn’t drain, the first place to look is at the drain tube. You can easily do this by removing the tube and checking it. If this isn’t the blocked, the pump may be failing to pump the water out of the machine at the end of the cycle. In this case, the pump may need to be replaced.

4. Drain Problems

When you have a washing machine that won’t drain, and also begins spilling water onto the floor around the machine itself, it may be a drain problem, not a problem with the washer. If the drain is blocked, the water backs up into the pipe and eventually leaks out over the laundry room floor. Alternatively it could also be a blockage in the trap located in the drain standpipe, or even further down the line. You can use a drain snake to clear the line, or rely on a plumber to help you find and rid your pipes of the blockage once and for all.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

10. You have no idea the last time your water heater was replaced. Most water heaters last between 10 and 15 years. If yours is older or you aren’t sure when it was last replaced, it may be nearing the end of its life.

9. When you turn on the hot water, the clear water you are used to turns to a rusty color that is anything but pleasing.

8. You turn on the hot water to find no hot water. This can be caused by one of two things. One, your pilot light is out or the circuit breaker has tripped. Or two, your hot water heater has reached its useful life.

10 signs you need a new water heater  10 Signs You Need A New Water Heater

7. Muddy or sandy water can be a sign of sediment build up in your tank. In some cases you can drain the contents to remove sediment and bring your water heater back to normal.

6. When you turn on the hot water, it has a metallic smell and taste to it. This is a sign that the water heater is breaking down, with grit and flakes from the inner tank combining with your water supply.

5. Warm water but not hot water can be an indication of your heating element burning out. Adjust your thermostat to make sure the temperature is set between 120 to 140 degrees, anything lower could provide warm but not hot water.

4. How often do you use hot water in your home? A home with a family of six that actively uses hot water all day long will have a water heater with a shorter life than an individual living alone and frequently not at home due to travel arrangements.

3. Noise is always an indicator. If you hear your water heater – loud cracks and pops for instance – it may be an indication that the interaction between the heating elements and the inside heater has mineral build up on them.

2. Repairs keep adding up. When something keeps breaking, causing problems, or otherwise gives you trouble, it’s a sign that more problems are sure to come. And when that happens, sometimes your best route is to replace it before serious damage impacts your life.

1. Leaks are never a good thing. If you notice water puddling around your water heater, or it leaks when standing, it’s a sign the inner tank has reached the end of its life. Slow drips and leaks quickly escalate, causing serious flooding if the entire tank breaks.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

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